Friday, November 21, 2014

International and Regional Convention of Jehovahs Witnesses 2014

I never got around to making a video of our awesome time in Houston - found this on YOUTUBE and it shows the awesome time we had. Brought back some wonderful memories!

Friday, September 26, 2014

I am so busy these days - with work, witnessing and siesta's that I really don't get a lot of time to write, so let me start off with saying a big sorry to my followers and if you are still reading this - Thanks for being patient.

One thing that is a little hard to get used to here is being stared at - it used to happen more than it does now, as Cuenca has a large Gringo population now, but right from the word go - I decided, well if they are going to stare they might as well say hola to me to. So that is my mission, when I am out and about, to get as many to smile back at me as possible. That sometimes leads to people (men) making inappropriate comments and I have had to become more cautious with whom I  smile at.

Today, though, a lady cracked me up by grabbing my hands and saying - "Why have you grown so tall"!- I could hardly respond for laughing but I finally got out - "Soy Gringa!". Yesterday, while walking home with a couple of bags of groceries. a lady insisted I come inside her house - she wanted me to see that she had a massage table and I was to tell my friends! 

The best times though are when they start talking about you, not realizing we are understanding everything that is being said now. I love to just turn to Mark and say something quite complicated in Spanish - and watch the culprits turn red.

That's it from me - hope it doesn't take another 3 months to write again. :)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Chinese Group with the CO's (we had two last week visiting) and their wives.
Sweet spot for Public witnessing - since then it has been changed to another spot because the authorities weren't too happy with us being on the footpath. Now we have it at in front of a sisters house - but still having lots of success.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Love these videos

This little fellow (he's probably 4 years old) was with me the other day and after the kids had watched the videos - he proceeds to get out his Bible Stories book to show them - he even pointed out the right story ie Creation - after they watched the Caleb video on the same subject.
What a wonderful tool we now have in the ministry - I just absolutely love the Sophia and Caleb videos for the kids - they enthrall the young ones (which is always nice as it gives us a chance to talk to their parents in peace). I have a number of little ones that get excited to see not only new episodes, but also re-watch all  the others they have seen.
Also loving them for my adult studies. The "What happens at Kingdom Halls" video has been very useful on getting them interested in coming to the meetings. Of course getting them interested and it actually happen is a different story. - something always seems to get in the way.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Couple of cool experiences....and a couple of treats

It's been really busy since we got back - catching up with studies and calls and working like crazy to pay off our trip (always spend more than you intend to on a trip aye?).  I've been trying to make a video of part 2 and 3 of our trip but that is taking some time so in the meantime you may like to see the little treats we had while we were at Walkill. First of all 4 brothers played in the foyer and then after lunch a choir came out and sang a few songs.

I have to tell you a couple of nice experiences I had today. This morning, I went into town to see a lady who I have been studying with in a juice shop. It's been hit and miss the last few times with her and today she was making every excuse under the sun as to why she couldn't study. Of course some of the reasons were very valid as she works alone in the shop all day from 9 - 7pm and only had Saturday afternoon and Sunday off. I was trying to help her see that even 10 minutes dedicated to learning what the bible says, would be beneficial. In walks another woman, who lo and behold I knew. She is often at the hairdressers, helping out when I have a study with the owner. My lady in the Juice shop explains why I am there and the woman says, "I know - she does the same with my friend - I hope you are listening to her because I know my friend's life is changing for the better, with what she is learning". You could have blown me away with a feather! Bear in mind this is a city of 500,000 people and we are in a different part of town so what a huge coincidence that this lady, knows both my studies. Anyway Juice shop lady says - "Right, we have to study, can you come back on Saturday at 1pm? The shop will be closed and I can concentrate on what I am learning!" SWEET! (When I see the visitor again, I will definitely be asking her if she would like to learn too)

Can you guess which language the audience is singing in?

Next cool experience was this afternoon. I was studying with a lady in a second hand clothes shop when in walked a client. She said for us to carry on as she didn't want to interrupt a bible study. After we had finished, of course I wanted to reach out to the client as well, so I offered the latest mags to her and pointed out the website if she had questions. At this point, my study asks the question - to the client  "Do you believe Jesus is God?" - that starts off a conversation and my study is doing the witnessing!! She even says -"I used to believe that too but now I know the truth!" How cool is that?

One of our favorite songs!
So it's a busy life but so fulfilling - especially when you get things happen like this!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Before I tell you anything about our trip...

I want to shout out to these incredibly kind and generous people. We can't thank you enough for the awesome time we spent with you. Only in Jehovah's organization would you find people willing to open their homes and hearts to complete strangers and that is exactly what Scott and Annette Ripley did. As soon as we walked out of the arrivals lounge at JFK and met them, we knew we were in for a good time.
What a couple of troopers - walked all through Central Park and back to
Times Square with us without complaining and they also got up at 3am to watch our

daughters wedding with us (that's friendship)
Then we went to Pennsylvania  and finally met Michele's Dad. What a lovely guy - a very hard working elder, so we didn't get to spend too much time with him but what time we had chatting with him was just like being with a very old friend.
Alan and Mark- buddies from the start

Beverly, Michele's Mum (or should I say Mom) is so hospitable - she drove 3 hours to pick us up at Walkill then drove us all the way back to her place. The breakfasts she got up early to cook too were amazing and now Mark is looking at me to do the same (fat chance, I couldn't compete with her standards). Her and her friend drove us all around Amish country and we had the funnest time with them.

You can tell by the cheeky grin of these two they are trouble

And last but not least - Jeremy, Chelsea and Zak (Michele's brother, sister-in-law and nephew). Not only did they shout us a huge pile of shrimp (Mark still reminisces) but they also drove us all the way back to NY to catch our flight to Houston. No mean feat! Zak is hard to beat at Sequence but a cool little dude. Looking forward to spending time with these guys when they move to Ecuador next year.

 So just gotta say to you all....

THANK YOU, GRACIAS, XIE XIE NI  (only know thank you in 3 languages)  Love you all lots!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Yay - it's finally arrived - this time tomorrow we will be in New York city! Bring it on!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

We are very happy with Amanda and John's news however it has been a rather emotional week - due to visa and financial issues, they will not be able to come back to Ecuador to get married, so will be tying the knot in either Beijing or Hong Kong very soon. This means that neither us nor any of John's family will be able to attend. Heartbreaking! I know though that they are being very sensible and of course, want to carry on serving over there so it makes all the sense in the world to just stay there. My daughter is not one for fuss so she is not worried about having a big wedding. Not something she has dreamed of all her life - hehe. Of course me being wired the way I am (nothing better than being the hostess with the most-est) it's a bit gutting not to be able to even throw a kitchen tea!

It's a good job we are super busy as always. Here is some pictures of  my first turn on one of the
 carts. What an awesome privilege.

You can never tell who are the ones to be interested and what impressed me is the amount of young people who stopped. One young couple asked if we had anything to help them study the bible - "aah yeah!" And another asked for directions to where we have our meetings. A lot of success!


Surprisingly - these ladies just looked away

Another first coming up this week - my first Chinese talk. Really don't think I am ready for this but with the lack of other speakers, I have had to step up.

Of course we are getting super excited about our trip to the International Convention in 3 weeks time - can't believe it is nearly here!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Wendy and Alison

We've just spent an awesome few days in another part of Ecuador that we had not visited before: Zamora - it's about 6 hours by bus away from Cuenca and is situated in the Oriente (or Jungle), so consequently it is a lot warmer, greener and buggier (is that a word? What I am trying to say there are heaps more insects that bite down there). Alison (she lived with us last year) and Wendy, both previously in the Chinese group here in Cuenca, now serve down there. There are a lot of Chinese people in that area as they are building Hydroelectric dams etc,   so it a field ripe for harvesting and they are doing a great job.                                                   

While there, we went for a walk through the jungle to a beautiful waterfall - the scenery is just breathtaking (something else that was breathtaking was the uphill slogs)
Glorious flowers along the way
Fascinating butterflys

This photo I stole off  the internet cause there was no way we could capture them - they were really cool but really fast. 

Finally made it to the waterfall - only for brave souls - rather chilly!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Williams Family
 We've had an awesome time this last week with a lovely family from England - here spying out the land. As you can see they are a lot of fun so I reckon they would fit right in here. It's really nice to show people around Cuenca and explain why we love living here. Gives us such a lot of encouragement too to see ones like them taking on the task. So thanks for coming guys!                                                                                                        
Of course it's been Memorial Season and it was really exciting to go to one in Spanish and one in Chinese. At the Spanish sessions we had 305 in attendance - double the amount of publishers in our congregation. In the Chinese - we had 5 Chinos come which was cool - so there was a real buzz going on at both.

Aaron and Mark did an awesome job playing the songs at the memorial - was a nice surprise for everyone cause they have never had that before.

My one and only study that turned up - must have touched her heart because she said to me after "we need to be talk about me coming to the meeting" - p.s. that doesn't mean that I haven't been encouraging her at every study to come along

Friday, April 4, 2014

Hey hey - yes I am back, I know it's been awhile since my last entry, sorry about that, but as I mentioned in the last post, our life has been a bit hectic. Things are certainly a lot quieter with only 3 of us in the house - it does mean though that we have a spare bedroom with attached bathroom, should anyone be requiring accommodation - long term or short term. The room has a double bed and single bed so room for 3 and at the moment with Amanda gone, we have more space available if needed. You can contact us via the email contact request on the sidebar.

One thing that has been taking up my time too lately is I a,m now a working woman. I got a job teaching English online for a German company - Lingoda. It was a bit nerve racking to start off with but having had years of training talking to all and sundry, it hasn't taken me long to get into the swing of things. It's nice to be bringing some money in for a change - now I can keep Mark in the style he is accustomed to!

Laundry day - brrrrh!
Reporting on our little Chinese group - for awhile there, with everyone leaving - it was looking very sad! But Damaris found a lovely couple from Taiwan that have started studying and they are coming to meetings regularly along with their daughter and last night another girl. The couple met this family from Hong Kong and so told them about the meetings, so they brought the daughter with them to show them where the KH was - so we may even have that family attending. So exciting for us and gives me more motivation to learn this difficult language (gives me hope too the experience in last weeks WT about the 65 year olds learning it).

Talk about airing your dirty(or in this case clean) laundry

So yesterday when I was coming home from the dentist and the bus whizzed past the stop without picking me up (this happens a lot - the driver just looks the other way if he doesn't feel like stopping) - I decided I had better walk a little way to the next stop and it was actually really nice. Sometimes with the busy life we lead and everything becomes part of every day life - you forget to look around and enjoy the different culture here. So these are just a few photos from my amble along the river bank. Enjoy!

Obligatory drunk guy

Selling their wares

Gotta say - you have to be
 really strong to be able to wheelbarrow a load of fruit around all day! Take my hat off to them!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Busy old time in our household

Family Reunion (miss living with these guys)
 For some reason, we have been exceptionally busy in the last few weeks so time is flying by. A lovely treat was the English Circuit Assembly that was held here this last weekend. We caught up with Chad and Michele and others from various congregations we've been in, so it was very cool. Of course listening to the program in our own language was super encouraging too. It was kind of surreal when quite a few Brothers ans Sisters stopped me and said they were followers of this blog - funny to think there are  people that actually read my ramblings.
Stephanie from Puerto Cayo

 Also big changes happening in our house, as I have mentioned. We had a little despedida for Alison, off to Zamora (a town in the Oriente, where there is a need for Chinese speakers), Amanda, off to China for 2 and 1/2 months and Jessica, who is going to Taiwan for a couple of months too. Turns out our lovely Chinese sister is leaving this weekend too - going to Guayaquil to live, so our little Chinese group is decimated at the moment - anyone feel like joining us??

I have also been busy training for my new job - teaching English online - really happy to have finally got a source of income for us as there is only so long one can live on savings. I teach my first class next week so hopefully I will do ok. I guess I have been teaching the bible long enough to know something about teaching aye?

With Alison and Amanda leaving, I have been handed over a few more studies to take care of and so I think now I am at my limit. It is not so much the studies themselves but the prep time becomes mind boggling. It is a joyful work though so very happy to have the privilege.

Well that's about it from me. Chao for now!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Business witnessing

Well for someone that doesn't really enjoy business preaching, seems that where the best "fishing" is. I have a study at a hairdressers , one in a paint shop, another in a car parts store, one in a juice shop and of course the one in the headstone store (you will remember that story about me breaking Jesus)! Also I have regular calls among others in a Medical Center, a flooring store and car battery place. Of course one of the very good reasons for being successful in those places is the fact that you will always find people working whereas in their house it is a different story. 

This week we are having a very encouraging week with the CO - our assigned brother couldn't come so we have a substitute and lo and behold it is a chappy who was our CO on the other side of town, so we are excited to see him and his wife again. 

This weekend the country is having their elections so on Sunday, pretty much everything gets closed down. People have to go back to the towns and cities they are registered in to vote, so the bus stations will be busy and the brothers will  still man the Stand at the terminal, but there will be no other forms of preaching. Mark is assigned for the whole day to supply literature if needed. Bound to need more, the last time he and Amanda were there - they placed 39 books in just 1/2 hour. People are especially interested in getting bibles. Very cool.

Settling back down from our trip to Galapagos - although there will be a lot of coming and going in our house over the next few months. 1st Amanda is going to China for a couple of months, Westley will be going back to NZ in April, Alison to the States and excitedly for a trip to Australia and NZ and then finally it's our turn again in June to New York. Phew - hard to keep up with it all!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Awe inspiring Galapagos

Well here is a quick run down of our trip of a life time to the Galapagos Islands. The photos are in no particular order as we are in the middle of a very busy week so there is only so much one can do. If you ever get a chance to take a trip to the islands - take it! It was one of the most tiring holidays I ever had but I would not have missed it for the world - so much to see and do! Costly though, so be prepared!

The snorkeling with giant sea turtles was my favorite part, I was a little nerveous to start with but I thought to myself - getting eaten by a shark is a much more exciting way to die than in a bed, so just do it! Of course I didn't actually see any sharks, they were hiding in a cave, which the others dove down deeper to see. Mark and Westley got a big surprise one day when they came across 24 of them dozing (thankfully it was siesta time for them aye?), so they have a good story to tell.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Nice little experience to end the week on

Yesterday we were invited to have lunch in town with a young couple returning home to Australia. On our way, we came across a  chap,who we had not met before but could tell a mile away was a witness (wasn't anything to do with the new bible he was carrying either), trying to talk to an Ecuadorian lady in Spanish. He obviously recognized that we must have been witnesses too because he stopped us and asked for help as he could not speak much Spanish. Turns out he was only a week off the plane and is helping with the English congregation. That's not  my story though.
The lady had seen his bible in his hand and chased him down the street - apparently she had been called on last year a few times but the person stopped coming (had moved away or something) and for some reason the women felt guilty about not asking for a study because she really wanted to learn what the bible says. Obviously she decided yesterday was the day - and when she saw the brother in the street, she raced after him. Amanda showed her the BT book and asked which question she would most like the answer to and the lady went straight to the 1st chapter - What is the Truth About God. Arrangements were made for Monday for her first study.Such a cool little experience which to me shows angelic direction at work. We just happened to be walking in the exact street where we needed to be, at the exact time. Cool aye!

ps - this time next week we will be in the Galapagos - wahoo! 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Does anyone else have frustrations with Airline Points??? So much for my skiting (Kiwi word meaning being overly proud of oneself of an accomplishment) about having airpoints to travel to the Convention in Texas with!

After purchasing my ticket, I had to transfer some over to Mark - of course nothing went smoothly from that point on. After being on the phone to LAN for hours and going to the office 3 times - I finally had to buy him a ticket. Of course by that stage the return flight was way out of our league pricewise - so he is on a different plane coming home. Oh well, I guess it could be worse - he could not be coming at all!

The good news is - we have our flight to NY, then on to Houston, back to NY and back home all sorted, as well as our Hotel in Houston and a lovely offer from friends of friends in NY to stay with them. It's going to be lovely to be with someone who knows the ropes of NY and we are looking forward to finally meeting some of Michele and Chads family and friends in the States. We are practically family after all :)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Not a Travel Agent but.....

Sorry - this is the only photo I have at the moment
I often get emails from people wanting information about accommodation when they come to visit Cuenca. Although most people can find temporary digs on or similar sites, I did want to share with you this information..

A lovely Ecuadorian family offer rooming in their home for visitors at a modest $10 per night per person, breakfast included. They have space for 5 people with a double room, a room with 2 single beds and a room with just one single bed. The house is very central - walking distance to most things in town and not far from the Kingdom Hall. The Mum and Dad are both regular pioneers and so would be willing to take you out on service or on studies with them. I can vouch for the fact that Ceci is a very good cook and you will be well looked after.

For a longer stay (1 or 2 months) I have been told that our old apartment is again for rent. It is a fully furnished 2 bedroom, apartment on the 4th floor of a lift-less (sad but true) apartment block and is very nice. The man that owns it is not a witness but his sisters are and he really only wants to rent it to witnesses, knowing how honest we are. These photos are from 4 years ago when we lived there, but I reckon it would just about look the same. The rent is $250 per month plus $50 for utilities, guard etc. The drawback is - it is a ways out of town and you will need 2 buses to get into town or a $5 taxi ride. The Kingdom Hall is a little walk over the hill too but that too can be averted by a taxi ride.

Please be in touch via the contact form to the right, if you would like further details on either of these places.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

What's been the haps?

 While out in service the other day, Amanda and I were waiting on one side of the street while some serious Chinese preaching was going on with a Taiwanese lady. Then we spotted on the opposite corner two sisters talking  with another person, of course in Spanish. Amanda and I could have completed the Trifecta if only an English speaking person had walked by! I am sure this doesn't only happen in Ecuador but it was very cool to see.
 These little cuties joined our busy household last week but only as temporary residents. Blue and Dingo belonged to an Australian couple (hence the names) who are leaving to go home soon so we are looking after them until they find somewhere more permanent. Actually Dingo has been placed and is going to her new home tonight. I would have loved to have kept them but as we have no garden, it's not really that conducive to have pets. The week we have had them here has made me appreciate how big a problem Noah must have had - I'm sure you get the picture!
We were invited to have lunch at a sisters house the other day, which was lovely, but one custom that I will never get used to is that they feed you restaurant style - in other words, they don't sit down and eat with you! It's just so awkward! What a meal though - some of these ladies sure can cook!

I have my first Spanish talk in about 3 years coming up this Thursday - eek! At least now though I know what I am saying, which is more than can be said for my Chinese. Slow progress there!